PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Health experts said there is a potential for an increase in COVID-19 cases and other sicknesses this fall.
Currently, COVID-19 cases are rising across the country.
“We’re seeing a surge in all of our markets, for OSF Healthcare in our community,” said Dr. Steve Hippler, the Chief Clinical Officer for OSF Healthcare.
On Tuesday, OSF Healthcare reported 157 people hospitalized for COVID-19 across its system. 121 of those people are unvaccinated and 36 are fully vaccinated. Hippler said outcomes are typically worse for unvaccinated people.
“Studies have shown that of those dying of COVID-19, 99% are unvaccinated and what we see is that when there is a breakthrough case, it is much milder and rarely does it need hospitalization,” said Hippler.
He encourages people to continue to follow mitigation strategies, including this Labor Day weekend.
“The best advice is for people who are sick, not to travel, not to be around people. For those who are unvaccinated, honestly the same thing,” said Hippler.
As fall and winter approach, COVID is not his only concern.
“I think what we expect in the months ahead with people coming indoors, kids at schools, that our respiratory diseases including COVID will go up,” said Hippler.
He said an increase in cases is likely, but there is a difference between now and one year ago: COVID-19 vaccines.
“The vaccination is preventing severe disease, need for and ICU and death among patients,” said Hippler.
He said it takes everyone to prevent more cases and the spread of the virus.
“There is no magic bullet,” Hippler said. “There are multiple things we all need to be doing to keep ourselves, our children, our communities, and each other safe.”
On Wednesday, The Centers for Disease Control asked unvaccinated people not to travel this weekend.
The director said it is not recommended, and also encouraged people who are vaccinated to take risks into consideration before traveling.